‘Debilitating’: Crusade for justice after niece vanishes
Ahead of National Missing Person's Week we speak to a grieving family member about how one word changes a family forever.
JANINE Francis' favourite television show was once Crime Scene Investigation.
That was until real life began to mirror fiction.
Her niece Shae Francis disappeared in October 2018 but was only reported missing in March last year.
The loving aunt spent months poring over all the information she knew and discussing different possibilities with the homicide unit about where Shae might have been.
"Each day I would spend seven hours going though anything I could think of and answering all their questions," she said.
"It was surreal to be there talking things that you see on television."
Shae and her former partner Jason Cooper, 44, lived together at The Hub.
Mr Cooper is facing charges of manslaughter, interfering with a corpse and stealing.
Shae's body is still missing.
"After working with the police for weeks the day they confirmed to me she wasn't coming home I fell to my knees," she said.
Now the family lives in a constant state of grief, unable to control thoughts about where Shae might be.
"It is so hard to get thoughts, the unknowns and answered questions out of your mind," she said.
"Your mind runs away with theories about what might have happened or where she might be.
"It is debilitating."
Janine said since her 'best friend' went missing, she had been stuck in limbo.
"You don't get to grieve like normal," she said.
"It is hard to process the information and you get stuck in anger."
In March this year police spent a week digging at the Maryborough tip, looking for items connected to the alleged homicide .
"The day they finished the excavation of the tip and they hadn't found Shae I fell to my knees again."
Describing her niece as "gorgeous inside and out" Janine said she was also giving, empathetic and caring.
The 35-year-old had studied human biology at university with the hope to cure diseases.
Now moderating a Facebook page called Seeking Help Finding Shae Maree Francis, Janine has been overwhelmed by messages of support, condolences and memories shared by people who knew Shae.
"She would give people her last dollar to help them out if they needed it," she said
"She was such a beacon of light and people have messaged me about experiences they had with her.
"I get messages like 'Hey, I sat with Shae on the bus, she was so happy, bubbly and really nice to me'."
Janine hopes talking about Shae will keep her in the forefront of the public's mind and encourage anyone with information to speak up.
"Someone in the public knows and we need them to come forward," she said.